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First annual Gator Fest event a big success

All week long, the weather forecast predicted rain on Sept 21. Most of the Gator Fest volunteers arrived as early as 6 a.m. in rain coats and boots.

As the early morning chill wore off, the clouds broke and sunshine and blue sky arrived. Vendors began setting up their tents. Soon, families and excited community members streamed onto campus and soon enough, Gator Fest was in full swing.

Ribbon cutting
President Ely, Sam Ball, and Pete Lewis cut the ribbon at the Cedar Hall dedication

The day started with a free pancake breakfast followed by the ribbon cutting of the new Cedar Hall. Green River President Ely, Director of Capital Projects Sam Ball, and Auburn Mayor and Green River Trustee Pete Lewis spoke at the event. They were joined by Cedar Hall architect Jerry Osborn, of S.M. Stemper Architects.

Throughout the day, approximately 2,000 people came to Green River College to celebrate Gator Fest. The reptile exhibit featured a 6 foot alligator and  entertained a packed gym audience during three demonstrations; excited children kept the five inflatable attractions in full use at all times; and performers entertained on the Community and KGRG stages.

Nearly 70 vendors, including several food, arts and crafts, commercial and non-profit booths, lined the crowded commons. Parking lot 12 was transformed into a classic and custom car lover's paradise, lined with old, new and original cars of every flavor.

Gator fest
A bird's eye view of Gator Fest

Dogs of all shapes and sizes participated in Dog Fest. More than 40 dogs participated in the K9 Challenge, completing fun challenges along the Foundation Trail; IT instructor Ken Hang's three-legged dog Trip was the star participant of the challenge.

Two dog adoption agencies - Auburn Valley Humane Society and Regional Animal Services of King County - adopted out at least one dog on the spot. In addition to the two dogs that left Gator Fest to settle into their new home, Greyhound rescue and the two adoption agencies left with leads on many more future adoptions.

The enthusiastic and hardworking Gator Fest volunteers helped run the event smoothly.

"We achieved our goal with Gator Fest - to provide a community festival with something for everyone," said Vickie Sheehan, Event Chair. "The event exceeded our expectations and we are looking forward to next year!"